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My Grandfather is turning 100 ys. old ... Help please!

Discussion in '☆☆ New Recruits ☆☆' started by DeaconMGR, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. DeaconMGR

    DeaconMGR New Member

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    Hello, to all of you who seem to be doing the same thing I am. Searching for Information.

    My Grandfather, a WW2 Vet, is turning 100 ys. old in September. My Father & I are searching for his Military records. The hope is to put together a Shadow box, recording his time in service. He saw a shadow box for a younger vet in the local paper and was intrigued. It would be a great gift. (I would not mind one for my service, either!)

    I am drawing a blank.

    His first assignment was with the 36th Armored Inf. He lead Patton's 3rd AD, letting the Germans fire on them so their positions could be pinpointed. 146% casualty rate in the 36th, Grandpa was one of them.

    After recovering, he was assigned to the 8th Army Air Corps. Attached is his "Record and Report of Separation." I can not read it clearly, but the unit he was with at discharge was the 4301st Depot Supply Squadron. At least I think that's what it reads. He was stationed in Leon, France until the end of the war.

    I am digging up nothing on this unit or his time with them.

    Any leads I can follow? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you in advance.

    Matt

    Here's his basic info:
    Gerald F. Snyder
    DOB: 23 Sept 18
    Birth place: Dubois, PA
    Service Num.: 33 874 838
     

    Attached Files:

  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Some of the experts will be along shortly, but you can disregard the supply depot he was discharged from. Returning servicemen were just attached to any stateside unit while their pay and records were put together.

    .
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    If he was wounded a Purple Heart award should show up in the box showing awards. As it is, he was awarded the EAME with 3 stars for participation in the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, and Rhineland. He also won a Combat Infantryman's Badge. That entitled him to a post-war award of a Bronze Star. He was also given a Good Conduct medal and a WW2 Victory medal. I'm not sure what the Meritorious Unit Plaque refers to, though I'm sure someone will be along to identify it.
     
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  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I suspect it is the what is now called the Presidential Unit Citation. The Different parts of the 36th AIB earned several in Autumn, 1944, breaching the Siegfried Line.

    Presidential Unit Citation (United States) - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  5. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Lou is correct. My guess for "Meritorious Unit Plaque" is "Meritorious Unit Commendation", but others here who are more knowledgeable will weigh in soon enough. Here is what his awards would look like (in correct order of precedence):


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Or, with the medals rather than the ribbons:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    Welcome to the forums!
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thinking, there could be more to 4301st Depot Supply Squadron than first meets the eye.

    He was wounded and earned campaign stars through the Rhineland Campaign. The Rhineland Campaign concluded 21 Mar 1945, with him apparently missing the Central Europe Campaign. The OP says he was wounded and upon recovery was transferred to the "8th Army Air Corps." The USAAF is not my strength, but given that the Air Force was part of the US Army at the time, it is possible he was transferred to the 4301st, although I am not going to jump out there and try to sell you on it, given the history of moving men around to fill billets in other units headed home.

    I'm not sure what the "8th Army Air Corps" was and after a cursory looksee, found nothing with that name. Could it be a mistake by the grandfather, combing "air corps" and "8th Air Force?" @DeaconMGR , was that his term you used?
     
  8. DeaconMGR

    DeaconMGR New Member

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    Wow, not only are all of you knowledgeable but you are all very fast in responding, too!

    Two responses:

    1. Term used.
    I did use the term "8th Army Air Corps", thinking it was interchangeable with "8th Army Air Force." I have heard/seen them both used, yet not knowing they could have separate meanings.

    2. Medals/Awards
    I have been digging to see what medals he qualified for after his discharge. I did not know about the Bronze Star awarded to CIB recipients. Wouldn't he also qualify for the Army of Occupation Europe Medal with the Germany clasp? I guess that depends on where he was stationed with Hi 8th Army Air Force unit. Am I mission other awards of medals that were awarded to WW2 veterans after Dec. '45?

    Thanks again for all your input on these matters. I have received more information from theses post in all the time I have spent digging around the internet.

    Matt
     
  9. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn New Member

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    How did he receive campaign credit for Normandy when he didn't arrive in theater until two weeks after it ended? If the record is indeed correct, no PH is more indicative of a non-combat injury or illness.

    As usual, the answer requires a methodical approach; hopscotching around is good entertainment, but has its limits. A fundamental principle in dealing with incomplete information is to start with the known and go toward the lesser known (heresy on an internet forum). In this case the only thing known for certain is his unit at discharge. Thus, the Morning Reports are the only reliable source. Maybe the MRs can explain what was going on for him to get credit for Rhineland yet not Ardennes. If the PH was missed on the discharge, the MR is the likeliest place to find official mention of the wounding.

    The best source for info on USAAF service units is from AFHRA at Maxwell AFB. You can buy unit info on CD, a real godsend for researching obscure outfits.
     
  10. DeaconMGR

    DeaconMGR New Member

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    Thanks for your input, first1abn.

    In regards to PH, he did not receive combat wounds. He was removed from the front lines due to “combat fatigue“. One of the ones who were “loved“ by Patton.

    In regards to the campaigns, I do not know specifics. I do know he joined the 36th Arm Inf around the Falsaise Gap action. This may be the reason for Normandy campaign. I have no idea about the Ardennes Campaign.

    I am looking into MR, my Father does have a bunch of records from my Grandfather. I am also looking into obtaining his official military personnel records thru eVetRecs. One way or another we will find more info.

    Thanks for the tip about AFHRA at Maxwell AFB.

    Matt
     
  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Matt, but the 3d AD and its 36th AIR were never assigned or attached to Third Army, so whether or not Patton "loved" them or not is irrelevant. :D
     
  12. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Matt, I found this info on a 3rd AD website, not sure why they didn't scan/post the document but it may be worthwhile contacting them to see if they have a copy and can look for your grandfather. The 36th Armored Infantry Regiment Personnel Directory | 3rd Armored Division Memorial Group

    There's also a 36th AIR history posted at this link, looks to be info pulled from Morning Reports in the daily log section and regimental AAR's for the daily action section.
    https://digital.library.illinois.edu/binaries/d380d2a0-e8b1-0133-1d3d-0050569601ca-b

    Steve
     
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  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Wow, that is a great resource.

    @DeaconMGR , If you know the date he was invalided out, you might be able to determine within a couple hundred yards where he (or more likely the HQ of the unit) was at the time. The six digit coordinates can be converted to standard latitude and longitude. If you get to that point, we can talk you though how to do it.
     
  14. DeaconMGR

    DeaconMGR New Member

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    Hello, again.

    RichTO90, you are correct. I confused Patton´s 3rd Army with the 3AD. Clearly the do not go together. Regardless, Patton did not treat Non-combat casualties well.

    I have added the MR for the day my Grandfather was removed from the front. (33874838 Snyder) It does not list the 6 digit coords Slipdigit referred to. It does state “2nd Dragon Tooth Line Nord de Guerre Zone“

    The link listed by Natman is great. It links my Grandfather´s removal from the front somewhere to the southwest of Stolberg (Rhineland), Ger.

    I am enjoying the support and helpful hints and links!

    Until the next post,

    Matt
     

    Attached Files:

  15. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn New Member

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    Look forward to plundering through your records with you.

    To qualify for campaign credit, a soldier has to be on duty during that campaign. He had not yet arrived in theater on July 24, the final day of the Normandy Campaign. 'Normandy' in this context refers to the campaign, not the geography. So, either his arrival date is wrong or Normandy should not be listed. Not sure why Rhineland is listed unless he tried to return to the front. Again, it's the dates. Like a broken record I will say that (unless your records trove already covers it) determining what happened would involve going day-by-day through the MRs until he arrives at the 4301st.

    NARA will have that circular. Hope his OMPF isn't one of those that burned up (odds are stacked against you however).

    NARA might have battalion level operations report. That could give more detailed unit info - hopefully with additional map coordinates. Once converted, Google Earth can be used to find locations given. Those 6 digit map coordinates put you +/- 50 yards. That ignores the error built in to the online converter, but repros of army maps are for sale online (no conversion error). One useful tip - RJ means road junction; CR means crossroads. My limited experience with the online converter is that it produces an error of 50-200 yards. Not bad for free.

    The MR shows his MOS as 745 (Rifleman), but his discharge shows 835 (Supply Clerk). So, he got some training after Sept '44. The MRs, if you go day-by-day, will show the MOS change (if that interests you). There were 835s in a AIR, but if betting based on what we know today, the retraining happened later - and that MOS is a good fit for a supply unit.

    Unless it turns out he served a long time with the 4301st, I wouldn't spend the money on the AFHRA Records CD. But I would immediately email AFHRA and ask for a 4301st unit history. For a service unit, it's likely to be just a couple of pages. Would be interesting to know where the unit was stationed and nice folks there most always send it as a freebie when it's only a couple of pages. I would be a bit surprised if the 4301st served on the continent.

    Good luck. In my opinion, this project is a noble undertaking and you should be congratulated.
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Morning Reports would not usually have map coordinates. One of the links in Natman's good post above (#12) has links to After Action Reports, which would give the map coordinates. Nord de Guerre is a group of maps comprising a large swathe of NW and Central Europe
     
  17. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    Most of the MRs I have seen for units in the ETO have coordinates. Of course, I may just have been fortunate. Speaking of coordinates, there is a great online coordinates translator on the website echodelta.net. The trick is that you have to figure out the 2-letter code for the grid square of the coordinates. The area around Stolberg is in the NdG grid square "vK". It's also very close to grid square "wF", so keep that in mind if you get a wonky result.
     
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  18. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I guess it depends on who was writing the MR. I don't have a lot of the morning reports for the 30th Cav. Recon Troop and the few I have are sparse in that detail. I do have the complete AAR. Apparently sometime after Normandy, the person writing it changed because the detail was so much stronger from then on. In Normandy through to Falaise, the entries were short and somewhat cryptic and after that, he wrote paragraphs, providing a lot of detail. I am still looking for all the MRs and think they may be in the St Louis.

    Me and EchoDelta were good friends when I was working on mapping the 30th Cav's drive across Europe. I need to finish it. I was making google maps of every day's location and i got them to the German frontier when I stopped. It was a pain in the butt and when the AAR writer for the troop would add the name of a village, it was pure gold for me in determining which grid square to look in.
     
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  19. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn New Member

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    I guess it's a pet peeve of mine. Whenever I see terms like "often" "many" "most" or "usually" I ask myself - how would they know that? Did they do a survey? If you have a fact, present it. If you have an opinion, express it (but explain or qualify it). Sloppy thinking presented as fact undermines the case and makes any associated claim suspect. Words matter.
     
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  20. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    To be clear, I was not intending to contradict your main point. The MRs I have seen that do have coordinates only have them at the top indicating the location of the Company HQ. The AARs can have many more coordinates for locations they mention, so they are much more useful in following the movements and actions of the Company. You are very correct that the amount and quality of information in MRs can vary quite a bit depending on who is writing them up. I have seen some that have a little as "On combat mission" or "In rest area". On the other hand, I have seen some that detail what each Platoon was doing on a given day.

    I did the same thing when researching an uncle who served with the A/55th AIB. I mapped out their movements on Google Maps and sent the link to my cousin so he could see where his Dad was during the War.
     

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